Pioneer Stars rock the stage at Pioneer Records EP Release Show

Written By Kylie Thomas, Co-Features/A&E Editor

After over a year without live music in the world, Point Park’s record label Pioneer Records was finally able to bring live music back to students with their Pioneer Star EP Release Show on November 7 at Stage AE.

Students from Pioneer Records work directly with Stage AE to put together a concert for their Pioneer Stars each year. Pioneer Star is a competition from Pioneer Records that runs during the fall semester. Students can submit their performance of two to three songs and from there the Pioneer Records board selects students to win the title. From there, they get to record with Red Caiman Studios, create a music video with the Cinema Department and get a live performance at the Club at Stage AE.

This year’s show featured Pioneer Records’ Pioneer Stars from the past two school years. Artists Dejah Monea and Elias Khouri were the Pioneer Stars for the 2019-2020 school year but their release show was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pablito Uri was the Pioneer Star for the 2020-2021 school year and while they had a virtual show uploaded to YouTube, they never got an opportunity to perform their songs live.

The night started off with a pre-show party at 6 p.m. that had pizza and drinks for attendees. Then, at 7 p.m., the real show began. Each act got a 20-minute set starting with Monea, followed by Uri, then Khouri. They got to play any music that they’d like, and, of course, the single that they recorded with Pioneer Records.

Director of Pioneer Records and senior sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) major, Maddy Sedberry, saw the event as a major win for the label, especially after returning from the pandemic.

“It was crazy and awesome and a little scary [to put the show on],” Sedberry said. “The pandemic has changed how we consume live music so much, and there are so many extra steps that we needed to take to make sure everything was safe and entertaining. But, I’m glad to say I think the show was a success.”

The show gives students of many different majors an opportunity to get hands-on experience working with music production, concert promotion and production, graphic design and much more. Director of Talent and Booking and senior SAEM major, Abbey Russell, said that one of the best parts of the learning experience is that it allows students to work with professionals in the music industry.

“At the release show, students get to work at Stage AE for the day and help local artists put on a show that takes months to prepare,” Russell said. “Overall, this kind of experience is invaluable to students, and I’m so grateful I get to have such a big hand in it.”

The event also helps the artists to learn more about the music industry and have the opportunity to be placed in a professional artist’s shoes. Through the encounter, featured act Pablito Uri got the chance to take the stage in one of the notable live venues in Pittsburgh.

“It’s been so long since I’ve been on stage due to the pandemic,” Uri said. “I’ve been able to get back on stage for some theatre and improv stuff in the meantime, but for music, it’s been a minute. While I’ve performed my music on stage before, this is the first concert-style event I’ll have done with my own music, and that’s incredibly exciting.”

Not only is the whole event educational but it also creates a fun event for students to interact with the music scene and take a break from their busy classes. Junior animation major Grace Watson attended the show last minute and said she is glad she did.

“I really enjoyed the performances themselves,” Watson said. “My roommate is an SAEM major so she told me about it and I wanted to come.”

The grind doesn’t stop here for Pioneer Records now that the show is over. The label is already busy preparing its three 2021-2022 Pioneer Stars for their own time in the spotlight.

“Next we focus on our new Pioneer Stars to get them in the studio, behind the camera and on stage to prepare for the next concert in the spring,” Sedberry said. “We will also be working with clubs around campus and the artists on our record label to continue to help grow everyone’s careers.”